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Apartheid in South Africa
Ethnic Cleansing in Former Yugoslavia
Palestinians living in the West Bank
Suharto in Indonesia
Tiananmen Square 1989
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Palestinians living in the West Bank
Overview/Background and Causes of Human Rights Violation:
-The division of Palestine after World War II set off many disputes in the Middle East. Problems of these new nations included the writing of a new constitution, the merging of diverse peoples, and involvement in territorial disputes with neighbors. Moreover, Palestinians who did not remain in Israel faced a disruptive life as refugees. This conflict between Jews and Arabs and Palestinians over a Palestinian homeland, has many reasons for its existence. To Jews, their claim to the land goes back 3,000 years, when their Jewish kings ruled from Jerusalem. But to Palestinians, which includes both Muslim and Christian religions, the land has belonged to them since the Jews were driven out around A.D. 135. To Arabs, the land has belonged to them since their conquest of the area in the 7th century. Zionists, who favored a Jewish national homeland in Palestine, had begun to settle in Palestine in the late 19th and early 20th century. At the time, the region was still part of the Ottoman empire. After the defeat of the Ottomans in WWI, the League of nations asked Britain to oversee Palestine until it was ready for independence.
-Palestinians feared that the increasing numbers of Jewish immigrants would result in hardships for them; Nazi Germany's persecution of Jews spurred immigration to Palestine. Jews asked that a Jewish nation be carved out of the territory. Britain, engaged in WWI, did not want to lose the support of either side. In a letter from the British foreign secretary to a Zionist supporter, Britain seemed to make promises to both sides. Britain found the terms of the Balfour Declaration to be restraining, so Britain called for partition of the country.However, none of the sides wanted to compromise. the UN, took control, and called for partition and the establishment of a Jewish state; Jerusalem was to be an international city owned by neither side. The new nation of Israel was not welcomed by its neighbors; the day after it proclaimed itself a state, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria invaded Israel. However Israel emerged victorious in the first of many Arab-Israeli wars. The Palestinian state that the UN had set aside for Palestinians never came into being; Israel had seized half the land in 1948-1949 during war. Egypt took control of the Gaza Strip and Jordan annexed the West Bank. As the fighting increased, thousands of Palestinians fled from Jews controlled areas.The Palestinians were forced to find refuge in the UN sponsored refugee camps that ringed the borders of their former homeland. Tensions between Israel and the Arab states were continually arising and causing fighting during this 20th century.
Actions Taken to Improve Situation:
-Because there was no peace treaty at the end of the Yom Kippur War between the Arab and Israeli states, many people feared that soon another war would start. Four years later, in November 1977, Anwar Sadat offered peace to Israel. This surprised the world as no Arab country up to this point had ever recognized Israel's right to exist. Sadat emphasized that in exchange for peace, Israel would have to recognize the rights of Palestinians. Further, it would have to withdraw from territory seized in 1967 from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.
-President Jimmy Carter saw this as an opportunity to make peace, and after deliberation, and 13 days of negotiations, Carter announced that Egypt too, recognized Israel as a legitimate state. In exchange, Israel agreed to return the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. Signed in 1979, the Camp David Accords, the first signed agreement between Israel and an Arab country, ended 30 years of hostilities between Egypt and Israel.
-The peace agreements between Israelis and Palestinians were harder to achieve. The Israelis, unwilling to give up the territory that they had seized, began to build settlements on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Palestinians resenting Israeli rule, turned to the Palestine Liberation Organization, led by Yasir Arafat. Israel, mad that there was resistance to their rule, bombed suspected bases in Palestinian towns.
-More modern events concerning the conflict between these religious groups includes the persecution of Jews in Europe, the rising value of oil in the Middle East, and global politics that have influenced decisions half a world away.
-Even though Sadat's peace initiative was applaudable, many Arab countries were enraged. In 1981 a group of Muslim extremists assasinated Sadat; however Egypt's new leader, Hosni Mubarak maintained peace with Israel.
-In 1987, Palestinians began to express their frustrations in a widespread campaign of civil disobedience called the intifada. The intifada or uprising in the form of demonstrations and boycotts, continued into the 1990s, with no solution apparent. The civil disobedience
world opinion which put pressure on Israel. In October 1991, Israeli and Palestinian delegates met for the first time in a series of peace talks.
-The Declaration of Principles, agreed to grant the Palestinians self-rule in the Gaza strip and the West Bank, beginning in the town of Jericho. Rabin and Arafat signed the agreement in September 13,1993. However, later, rabin was assassinated in 1995, by a Jewish extremist who opposed concessions to the palestinians.
WHY is this Important:
-This is important because today, there is still much controversy over territory and the peace process has been complicated by unsupporting leaders of the peace policy in either the Arab or Israeli states. This has caused bitter agreements and more resentment; all of which have resulted in more fighting over territorial lines and rights to the land. The controversy in an area where oil and other natural resources are abundant, have affected the world economy; especially the United States which is one of the world's leading consumers.
Israelis continue to hold on to the settlements or territories they've conquered. This affects the Palestinians because Israeli territory surrounds the set Palestinian territory; building almost a web of constricting routes which the Palestinians may not use or cross. One of the main issues that still remains today is Israel's building of settlements in the West Bank; the Israeli organization "Peace Now" released a report suggesting that Israel plans to build another 73,000 houses in occupied territory. Palestinians say that Israeli forces are destroying their dreams. The Israeli settlements are closely guarded, as fences enclose the territories, many families are separated and unable to cross the boundaries which have been imposed.
1) McDougal Littel's Patterns of Interaction textbook
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